Family Politics:Blogger Debates Kids' Place on Trail

A blogger blasted Elizabeth Edwards for taking her kids on the campaign trail.

ByABC News via via logo
January 8, 2009, 1:38 AM

Aug. 30, 2007 — -- Elizabeth Edwards' attempt to balance family needs with political aspirations has caused some controversy. A Silicon Valley blogger this week pounded on the Edwardses' decision to pull their two youngest children out of school and allow them to travel on the campaign trail.

"Elizabeth, I don't like the choices you've made," blasted blogger and mother of two Rebecca Eisenberg. "Get off the freaking campaign trail," she wrote.

She added in her opinion Elizabeth Edwards was "being a terrible mother."

In a matter of hours Elizabeth Edwards shot back an answer, igniting what some called a "mommy war."

"You don't get to say I'm a terrible mother," she blogged. "You think you know exactly what you would do if you had my disease," wrote Elizabeth Edwards, who has breast cancer.

"You don't know. And if the sun always shines on -- you and I pray it does -- you will never know."

The scrutiny of the Edwardess' choice is not unusual. Politicians and their families often are under the public's scope of scrutiny.

"Voters have criticized politicians and politicians' families since the beginning of this republic," said ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts.

Roberts said voters do have the right to voice their opinions because it's right and fair, but the politicians also get to respond.

"She said, 'Look, these are my decisions. These are my children. This is my disease. Back off,'" Roberts said of Edwards' blogged response.

After Edwards defended her right to bring her children on the trail, Eisenberg backed off on some of her statements, writing she had "changed her mind" about some of the things she said. She added that she didn't want to be at the center of some mommy war.

And though the Edwardses have opted to make their presidential campaign experience a family one, other candidates' families have made different choice.

Fellow Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have included their two young daughters on some campaign trips. But more often than not the girls stay at home in Chicago.

And Democratic front-runner and former first lady Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-Ill., still is haunted by a 1992 comment she made, which offended some mothers.

"I'm not one to sit at home baking cookies and having teas," Clinton said at the time.

But so far, she has kept parenting and politics separate. The Clintons have campaigned as a couple, but their daughter, Chelsea, has not been seen.

Finding equilibrium for family and politics simply is not relegated to Democrats. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has made his campaign a family business. His five sons all seem to have key roles in his White House bid, though his children are much older than than the Edwardses' children.

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